CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Teachers Union said Thursday that the city's public schools will stay closed for at least one more day, but the union president said she was hopeful that both sides were close to completing a settlement to end the nearly weeklong strike.
"We are optimistic, but we are still hammering things out," Karen Lewis said.
The union called a special delegates meeting for Friday afternoon, when the bargaining team is scheduled to give an update on contract talks.
"We've made progress in some areas, but still we have a way to go," Lewis added. "Teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians remain hopeful but energized."
Negotiations resumed Thursday with an air of optimism. Lewis said students could be back in class by Monday, a week after teachers walked out.
Roughly 25,000 teachers have been on the picket line in the nation's third-largest school district. The most contentious issues on the table have included teacher evaluations that incorporate students' standardized test scores and job security.
After contract talks went late into the night Wednesday, Lewis said the sides had definitely come closer together. School board President David Vitale was also more positive.
The optimism was evident on the picket lines, too.
"I know that we will have a good resolution to this, and I do believe it will be soon," said Michelle Gunderson, an elementary school teacher picketing on the city's North Side. The negotiators "do not mean to have us be embroiled in this for longer than we have to."
The school board's latest proposal scaled back penalties to teachers after the two sides argued over what percent of student performance should be weighed and how that should be used to judge job performance.
Under an old proposal, the union estimated that 6,000 teachers could lose their jobs within two years.
The latest offer included provisions for evaluations of tenured teachers that would not result in dismissal in the first year. It also altered categories that teachers can be rated on and an appeals process.
School districts nationwide have grappled with teacher assessments. The Obama administration has given states incentives to use student performance as a component of evaluations, though the issue has been most contentious in Chicago.
Teachers have said it's unfair to use test scores to evaluate them, especially with other factors affecting student learning that they can't control: poverty, hunger and the inability to speak fluent English, to name just a few.
Chicago's walkout canceled class for approximately 350,000 students and has left parents scrambling to make other arrangements for young children. The district has kept some schools open on a limited basis, mostly to provide meals and supervision. More than 80 percent of Chicago Public Schools students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.
The walkout is the first Chicago teachers strike in 25 years. A 1987 walkout lasted 19 days.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called the strike unnecessary and urged the union to continue negotiating with students in class.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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